Pete the Cat Christmas Extravaganza

I am super excited to present to you my Pete the Cat Christmas Extravaganza!  Initially I wanted to do my holiday storytime using the new Pete the Cat saves Christmas book.  Then, after making a suggestion that someone make a Gingerbread Pete the Cat I decided to do that as well.  Since I usually do three stories at my storytimes I needed one more Pete the Cat story.  So, I made up my own story inspired from Pete the Cat: I love my white shoes with a guest appearance by Pete!

First I give you Ginger Pete!  Ginger Pete was made by combining Pete's head and a gingerbread man's body.  He has peppermint stick whiskers and some very tasty looking gumdrop buttons.  (The gumdrops were made by painting glitter glue onto the craft foam.)  My plan is that the story will go like this:

I was making some gingerbread men the other day and decided that I needed to make one of my favorite book characters: Pete the Cat!  So, I rolled out the gingerbread, cut the shape, and added some peppermint sticks for the whiskers.  But, he needed a little something else, so, I gave him some gumdrop buttons.  (I will have the kids count them as we put them on Pete.)

Ginger Pete loved the gumdrop buttons so much that he started singing:
My buttons, my buttons,
I love my gumdrop buttons!

But, those buttons looked so tasty.  And, I really love gumdrops...so...I ate one!  (It is very possible that I will say 'not the gumdrop buttons!' here, though most kids probably will not get the Shrek reference.)

Did Ginger Pete cry?  Goodness no!  Gumdrop buttons come  and gumdrop buttons go (or get eaten).  So, now Ginger Pete has three gumdrop buttons.  But, I'm still kind of hungry and those buttons look SOOOO tasty, I'll just eat one more.

And so the story will go.  When there is one gumdrop button I will tell them, 'he looks silly with just one button, might as well eat that one too!'  And Ginger Pete cried:

My buttons, my buttons,
You ate ALL my gumdrop buttons!

Poor Ginger Pete seemed really sad.  I felt a little bad about eating all of his yummy buttons, so I went and found some new buttons for Ginger Pete.  That made him so happy he sang a new song:

My buttons, my buttons,
You can't eat my plastic buttons!
My buttons, my buttons,
You can't eat my plastic buttons!

The second story I came up with is called Away flew Santa's hat.  I wanted to do something similar to Pete the Cat: I love my white shoes only with Santa hats.  But, to dye his hat colors would involve lots of Santa landing on his head.  I couldn't do that to old St. Nick, so instead the wind will blow his hats away.  Obviously you could do the story with a child instead of Pete if you are not doing a Pete the Cat Christmas Extravaganza.
Here is the story I came up with.  The songs are sung to the tune of Jingle Bells:

Away flew Santa’s Hat


It was Christmas Eve and Santa was all set to hop in his sleigh and deliver gifts to children around the world.  To make sure he stayed warm during the windy ride he put on his boots, his furry red coat, and his white gloves. 
‘All set,’ said Santa.  But just asked he was about to walk out the door Mrs. Claus stopped him.
‘Aren’t you forgetting something, Santa?’ she asked holding out his warm Santa hat.
‘Oh dear!’ exclaimed Santa. ‘I wouldn’t want to forget my favorite hat.’  And then, because he loved his hat so much he began to sing:

Santa hat,
Santa hat,
Sitting on my head.
I hope all the children are
Fast asleep in bed!

He gave Mrs. Claus a quick kiss of thanks and headed out the door.  But, just as he got to the barn a strong wind blew and away Santa’s hat flew!
‘Oh dear!’ exclaimed Santa.  ‘What will I do?’
A jolly elf was standing nearby and saw what happened.  ‘Here Santa,’ he said.  ‘You can use my hat.’
‘Why thank you,’ said Santa and as he put it on his head he sang:

Green elf hat,
Green elf hat,
Sitting on my head.
I hope all the children are
Fast asleep in bed.

Santa waved goodbye to the elf and hopped into the sleigh.  It was a windy ride, blowing the sleigh back and forth and up and down.  Just as Santa was landing on the first house a strong wind blew and away Santa’s hat flew!
‘Oh dear,’ exclaimed Santa.  ‘What will I do?’
Rudolph was standing nearby and didn’t want Santa to be without a hat.  “Here Santa,’ he said.  ‘You can use my hat.’
‘Why thank you,’ said Santa and as he put in on his head he sang:

Reindeer hat,
Reindeer hat,
Sitting on my head.
I hope all the children are
Fast asleep in bed.

Santa hopped into the chimney and quickly delivered all of the presents before heading to the next house.  On he went, through the windy night delivering presents as fast as he could.  But, just as he was climbing into a chimney in New Zealand as strong wind blew and away Santa’s hat flew!
‘Oh dear!’ exclaimed Santa. ‘What will I do?’
Since no one was nearby to offer a new hat, Santa quickly grabbed the first thing that he saw as he left the gifts under the tree.  He plopped it on his head and sang:

Sitting on my head.
I hope all the children are
Fast asleep in bed.

The reindeer all giggled when they saw Santa’s new hat, but as there was no time to find anything better they let Santa climb into the sleigh and flew off into the windy night.  On they went, from house to house delivering gifts so fast no one knew Santa was there.  Until, they reached a house in Florida and Santa slid down the chimney to find someone waiting.  He was a small blue cat, all ready for bed wearing his best Christmas pjs, complete with a furry red hat.
Just realized that at this point of the story Santa will still have underpants on his head :)  
‘Santa,’ asked the cat ‘what is that on your head?’
‘Underpants,’ he replied, feeling quite silly.  ‘My hat blew away and they were all I could quickly find to keep my head warm.’
The cat pulled the hat from atop his own head.  ‘Here Santa, take mine.  It is my gift to you.’
‘Thank you Pete!’ Santa cried.  ‘You have true Holiday spirit.’  He handed Pete a wrapped box and headed back up the chimney singing:

Santa hat,
Santa hat,
Sitting on my head.
I hope all the children are
Fast asleep in bed.

Santa managed to keep the hat on his head the rest of the night.  A few days after Christmas, Pete found a package wrapped on his front door.  He opened it up to find a brand new hat along with a note that said:

To thank you for your kindness, Mrs. Claus made this hat just for you.  Happy Holidays!  Love, Santa.

The new hat was a perfect match for Pete’s favorite pair of pajamas.  So, he plopped it on his head as he sang:

Groovy hat,
Groovy hat,
Sitting on my head.
I will wear my groovy hat
Every night to bed!

If you choose not to use Pete at the end you can change the song to match.  For example you could have a little girl who gets a princess hat or a little boy who gets a cowboy hat.  

So, with those two stories and reading Pete the Cat saves Christmas by Eric Liwtin and James Dean I will have a full storytime.  We will do some songs between the stories, probably some Jingle Bells (I am thinking of giving them bells to ring during the song in Pete the Cat saves Christmas, so maybe after that book.)  Sing-a-longs have gone over well in the past.  A few of those, the Reindeer Pokey and some crafts at the end and we're all set!

I also plan to give all of the kids a little bag of gumdrops.  I figure after talking about eating them it only seems fair.

You can find this week's special Holiday Round Up with Linda at Notes from the Story Room.  All things Flannel Friday can be found on the Flannel Friday blog, and all Flannel Friday posts are pinned to the Pinterest Boards.

Happy Flanneling!


Flannel Friday: Tips for multiple use flannel pieces

Since I have no new flannel stories to share this week I thought that I would post a tip or two. 

I will start by noting that it can be helpful to try and use the same material when making your flannel sets.  In general I use craft foam.  I do this because it is easier to draw shapes, it cuts easily, and the colors are very bright.  (Flannel is great too, I am just partial to foam.  If flannel is your preference then stick to that when you can.)  There have been times when flannel is more practical to use, but most of the time I opt for foam.  Have pieces mostly made of foam comes in handy when I have a story or rhyme that uses a piece I already have.  For example, awhile ago I made a flannel to go with the story The Case of the missing shoe.  A year or so later when I made my Pete the Cat flannel I already had shoes in the colors I needed, so I borrowed them from the older flannel.

Pete the Cat: I love my white shoes
The Case of the missing shoe
When I use pieces from other set I make sure to note that on the envelope when I store the other pieces.  So, on the file for Pete the Cat I have a note under the title that says use shoes from 'Shoes.'  That way when I or a co-worker pull out Pete the Cat we don't freak out that all his shoes are missing.  (Although, the key here is to remember to put all the pieces back where they go.  The note helps with that as well.)
I have also found it useful to make similarly sized pieces.  Some time ago I made a flannel to go with the song 'Zoo Train.'  For whatever reason I decided to make only the heads of the animals using the same sized circle as a base.  So, I ended up with a variety of similar animals.  I have found this set to be very useful.  I even started a file of just round animals.  This way I can quickly locate them when needed.  I keep the more unique pieces with the story file and keep the more generic animals in the round file.  Occasionally I will need to make an animal or two, like this fall when I made the story What will it rain.  For that I needed to make a Bird and a Squirrel, but I could make them with a circle base and they were able to match the horse, cat, dog, and bunny that I already had.
What will it rain
The Enormous carrot
Five red apples (adapted down from ten)
So, whenever I go to make a new flannel I look to see if I have any pieces that I can re-use.  Now that I have built up a 'flannel library' I tend to find that I often do.  This can really save time.

I had hoped to add more pictures, but Blogger is telling me that I have reached my limit!  Oooops.  I had to glean all of this posts photos from previous posts.  So, I guess instead of adding more photos I need to find a remedy to that issue.  Suggestions?

You can find the rest of this week's round up with Library Quine over at Loons and Quines @ Librarytime.  An explanation of Flannel Friday, along with the hosting schedule, tips, and more can be found at the Flannel Friday blog, and all posts will be pinned to the Flannel Friday Pinterest page.


Jumping, Dancing Feet

For the final week of Fall storytimes our theme was all about Feet.  We featured the letter F for Feet, but we read books about socks and shoes as well.  Originally I had wanted to do a theme with socks, but I was having trouble coming up with enough material that I liked, so I went the route of feet in general.  We talked about what you can do with your feet, walk run dance, eat? (some kids claim they do this) etc; then we talked about what you can put on your feet, socks and shoes.  This led to a discussion about the color of everyone's socks and shoes.  Sometimes when they get overly chatty like this I will say 'If your shoes sparkle, raise your hand... if your shoes do not light up raise your hand...' and so on for a minute or two so they can all get the participation bug out.  Usually it helps.

Our first story was Duck sock hop by Jane Kohuth.  This book kind of kicked off the theme when it came in on the new cart a few months ago.  I thought that it was a cute, rhyming story about a bunch of ducks who have a sock hop every week.  They start off with some great colorful and unique socks, but as the hops goes on the socks get destroyed.  The illustrations are simple and bold and feature fun, sock wearing ducks.  My Monday group did not seem too keen on this book, but they were probably coming off of a Halloween sugar high and the groups later in the week seemed to enjoy it more.

The second book that we read was Lindsey Craig's Dancing Feet.  This is a fun book about the dancing feet of various creatures.  It begins with the little ladybug's tippity feet and has other animals, such as the ducks with slappity feet and the elephant with stompity feet.  The feet are shown on one page with the full creature when you turn the page so it was fun for the kids to guess what the creature was.  At the end of the book there are kids with stompity feet, so we all stood up to do some stomping.

I decided to throw in Pete the Cat: I love my white shoes by Eric Litwin as our flannel story.  I try not to repeat books too often and I had read the book version of this one in the spring.  But, when it is a great story like this and I can do the flannel instead of the book I had to use it.  It felt wrong to do a theme about feet without including Pete.  If you are not familiar with this book you NEED to grab a copy RIGHT NOW.  Then, you can read all about Pete and his white shoes that get turned different colors when he walks through some piles of fruit and sing along with the catchy song.  I love this book and so do the kids.  Most of them were singing along with me.
For some of the groups I used this Pete I made for Pete the Cat and his four groovy buttons.
For other versions I used my generic Pete.
 To go along with our feet theme we used lots of jumping and dancing songs.  The Learning groove has Mr. Eric's jumping song.  This is a fun, very energetic song that gets the kids jumping, clapping, and  wiggling.  This song is fun, but it always leaves me short of breath.

So, we followed the jumping song with Carole Peterson's Tommy thumb is up.  This is a nice slow fingerplay song that you can do while sitting down and catching your breath before reading another story.

Carole Peterson also has the Shaker hop, which went well with our theme.  The music is the bunny hop tune, but instead you are putting shakers in and out and hopping, of course.

Sue Schnitzer's All the fish is not really hopping or dancing, but you do jump up at the end of each verse.  It is also a popular song with our storytime crowds, so I threw it in for the last week.

We have these great eye stickers, but the black dots are all different sizes.  So, our turkeys all looked a little crazed.
Because there were no feet crafts that appealed to me (other than those that involved painting feet and stepping on paper - a little too messy for 2 year olds in the library) we made turkeys.  Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away and parents appreciate those crafts that they can sit out as table decorations.  So, each kid got a turkey body to color and a paper plate to glue feathers onto.  They used a toilet paper roll to attach the two so that the turkey would stand up.  A few turkeys ended up a little top heavy with feathers, but in general most were able to stand on their own.   


A belated Halloween

I fell behind in my storytime posting so I am just now getting around to adding my Halloween week post.  In the past I have somewhat avoided Halloween.  Tradition at our library is that kids wear their costumes the week of or the week before Halloween and I always go along with that (parents want to get the miles out of those outfits!) but I have skirted the Halloween books and done themes about dressing up, birthdays, parties, and friendly monsters.  The birthday party year was fun as the week before I had all of the parents address envelopes to their house (we did a mail theme so it fit well) and then I mailed out 'invitations' to our storytime and threw in some stickers for the kids.

This year I just embraced the theme.  I warned the parents ahead of time that the theme would be Halloween and we would be reading not too scary stories.  In the past we have had a few families who opposed the Halloween theme, but that does not seem to be an issue recently.  However, I still like to give them a head up, plus remind them that the kids get to come in costume.  So, our letter of the day was H for Halloween.

The first book that we read was Snappy Little Halloween by Dugald Steer.  This is a cute pop-up book that features some not very scary characters that kids see a lot of in October.  There is a witch, a black cat, a bat, a dancing skeleton, and a vampire whose pants fell down among others.  Each page has a big pop out and a little rhyme about the character featured on that page.  The kids enjoyed telling me who they saw on each page and watching the character 'dance' around as I moved the pages a little.

Our second book was Susan Hood's Just say boo!  This is a new book and I knew it would be great for storytime when it came in.  It features a group of kids who are out trick-or-treating and they get scared by various things.  But, each time they are scared they yell 'Boo!' and discover that what was scaring them really wasn't that scary.  Some things they encounters are the wind, wet leaves, a spider, and a woman in a skeleton costume.  I love the end of this book because it shows a baby being scared by kids in dinosaur costumes and the kids are instructed to teach the baby to say 'Boo!'

The flannel story we used was based on Chocolate chip ghost by Meighan Peifer.  My coworker actually made her own version that I borrowed.  Essentially, the story is that in order to stay white little ghosts have to keep to a strict diet of white food, i.e. milk, cauliflower, and vanilla icecream.  But, one day, the ghost family runs out of their special white food and mommy ghost has to go to the store.  She leaves her little ghosts with the instructions to not eat anything while she is gone.  But, those poor, hungry little ghosts just can't help themselves.  As they eat different fruits and vegetables they turn different colors to match the food.  I showed the kids the food and they told me first what it was and then what color the ghost would turn.  The last ghost ate a chocolate chip cookie and turned brown with spots!  Mommy ghost came home and fed the ghosts their special food and they returned to white.  Although, the chocolate chip ghost had to have extra milk, because milk goes so well with cookies!

Another fun book that you can use with a Halloween theme is Shake d'em Halloween bones by W. Nikola-Lisa.  This is a fun book for the older crowd and I used it for a story time that I did at my daughter's pre-school.  I give all of the kids shaker eggs before we start because it has a refrain through the song about shaking d'em Halloween bones.  They really mean dance as the story is about a Halloween party that features fairytale characters.  It is a fun book and has a great beat.  I used this one the year we did a party theme for Halloween.

There are lots of great songs for a monster or Halloween theme.  The Learning Groove has We are monsters that has the kids stomp, clap, shake, like monsters.  In addition they get to do a lot of growling.

I pulled out Andrew Gold's Monster mash and gave all the kids scarves to dance around with.  I had to direct them some with their scarves.  We waved them around over our heads, up and down, left and right, and tried to do a little 'mashing.'

Laurie Berkner has a fun song called the Monster boogie.  This is a fun song with lots of dancing while also acting like a big scary monster.  And, of course, this song ends with a big ROAR!

Instead of a craft I sent all of the kids on a ghost hunt in the library.  I got the idea from Storytime ABC's. Kay, at Storytime ABC's, came up with a cute rhyme to show that scary things are not always what they seem and demonstrated this by having a 'ghost' which was a lollipop in disguise.  So, instead of a craft all of the kids searched the library for a lollipop ghost and a pack of fruit snacks with a ghost taped to it.


A storytime ode to garbage trucks

Before the storytime session began I decided that I wanted to do a garbage truck theme.  So, our letter of the day was G for Garbage.  This idea stems from living with a toddler boy and being privy to the car, truck, machinery, construction obsession.  Since many toddler boys are on the same wave length I figure it is all good for storytime material.  Although, I can only imagine what the storytime parents are thinking of me as I did a garbage truck theme one week and was singing the Booger song the next!

A garbage truck storytime is not complete without reading Andrea Zimmerman's Trashy town.  This is a cute book about Mr. Gilly, the trash man who works tirelessly to clean up trashy town.  The story has a lot of repetition that the kids can join in with and the illustrations are not too busy for a big crowd.

Our second book was Smash! Mash! Crash!  There goes the trash! by Barbara Odanaka.  This book features some garbage pigs as they noisily gather the garbage on the block.  They pile all kinds of nasty things into their truck before they drive away.
Instead of a third book or a flannel board** I decided to show the video version of I Stink! by Kate McMullen.  This book is a favorite with many two and three year old boys - and girls - but it is a little long to read out loud.  The video version is a great option and the kids seemed to enjoy the treat of getting to watch a 'movie.'  There were lots of giggles and EEEEWWWWW's as the garbage truck read through his gross alphabet soup.  

**I did have a plan for a flannel story, but I realized to do what I wanted was going to take more time than I had.  You can read about the idea here.

Carole Peterson's Stinky Cake is a song that fits perfectly with a garbage storytime.  She sings about making a cake using smelly socks, baby diapers, and moldy fish.  As we sang I had the kids do the motion of stirring the cake batter.  As we went further in the song we began to stir with our feet because the cake was just so stinky!

I like my hat is another song by Carole Peterson that I like to do with scarves.  We pretend that the scarf is a hat and we put it on our elbows, toes, knees, bottom, etc. before finally getting it to the right place on our head.
 Our craft was a garbage truck trash can game.  Sounds elaborate, but it was really easy.  Basically, each kid had half of a paper bag and two garbage trucks to color.  The trucks were taped to the outside of the bag and the kids got some trash (the top part of the paper bag and some cotton balls) that they could toss at the bag and try to make a basket.  Or they were told they could use the bags to clean up trash around their homes.


Getting squirrely in the library

The fourth week of storytime brought squirrels scampering into the library.  Luckily they were fictional squirrels.  Our letter of the day was S for Squirrel and we were able to come up with lots of S words like sssssnake, socks, shoes, Sparky, Santa (yes, already on someone's mind!), shapes, and a whole bunch of names - like Nathan and Carly - that kids claimed started with S.

Our first book was Lois Ehlert's Nuts to you!  I have used this book before and thankfully it went over better than Leaf Man did a in our previous session.  The kids enjoyed looking for the squirrel in some of the pictures and we talked about if we thought the squirrel would follow the nuts out of the house or if he would stay there.

The second book that we read was The busy little squirrel by Nancy Tafuri.  The kids had fun telling me what items the squirrel was collecting in this story.  Each page has the squirrel too busy to play with other animals because he is stocking up for winter.  The text is very simple and repetitive, which is great for storytime and the illustrations are big and bold so everyone can see them.

Our flannel story was What will it rain? by Jane Moncure.  I found this idea at the Rain Makes Applesauce blog and it was great for storytime.  We didn't have the book at our library and it did not arrive in time, so I improvised the story based on the post at Rain Makes Applesauce.  Basically, squirrel can tell that it is going to rain soon.  But he is convinced that it is going to rain acorns.  He runs into other animals who all tell him that he is silly (or, if you are feeling ironic - NUTS!) and then proceed to tell him what they think that it will rain.

Finally, squirrel sits under a tree and a strong wind begins to blow.  Suddenly, something starts to fall from the sky!  Acorns are falling from the tree and squirrel says 'see, I was right, it is raining acorns!'  At this point I throw acorns from the tree up into the air.

We sang Carole Peterson's Wiggle song.  This is an easy song where you wiggle your hands, feet, hips, head, and whole body.  It is slow enough for the younger kids to follow along easily but has a lot of movement.

Mr. Eric and Mr. Michael have a version of Head, shoulders, knees, and toes that is fun and upbeat.  It was a little fast for the littlest ones, but this is one of the slower versions that I have found and most of the kids were able to keep up.

We got out the shaker eggs to shake along with the Imagination Movers Shakable you.  Kind of like the wiggle song this one has the kids shake different parts of their body.  My favorite part is at the end when the kids shake and jump.  We hold the shaker eggs above our heads and jump up and down.

Our craft was really simple.  The kids got a print out of a squirrel on card stock that they could color if they wanted to.  Then, they had some glue and coffee grounds to give the squirrel a nice furry coating that made him smell awesome (awesome if you are a coffee-holic).  I have done versions of this craft 3 or 4 times (with squirrels and bears) and for the first time had a kid eat the coffee grounds!  I was cleaning up after storytime and a kid who was not part of the group came over.  His mom exclaimed 'look, coffee!'  And he grabbed a spoon that we had used to spread it around and took a big bite!  I then had to find a trash can so he could spit it out.  So, if you use this craft, you may want to warn them NOT to eat the coffee.